Sunflower Lady Saves Christmas

It had been an interesting summer for the scarecrows. As well as doing the thing they did best – scaring crows! – they had had a few adventures on the way, but the highlight was at the Green Man Festival and the Hettie and Harry’s wedding.

As September approached, they were all packed up and prepared for the winter. Some were destined for sheds, some into barns or garages and some to the corner of fields to wait for the Spring. So life in Bramley has been pretty quiet.

But….. not many people knew this! The scarecrows were also preparing for their Christmas and as December arrived, they were making plans for some fun.

But just as they started their planning, lock down 2.0 started, so to make sure their celebrations could go ahead, the scarecrows sorted themselves into bubbles. It was the season to be jolly careful about who could go out and who couldn’t, but someone had to take charge and mastermind the Christmas celebrations. And guess who was that? Fred! Now, Fred lives in a caravan in a hidden corner of a field in Bramley Corner, with Freda and Fiona. He put himself in elf isolation as he can’t get out and about without his legs, which sadly had been removed by the council when the bus shelter was rebuilt , so he was in charge of delegating jobs to everyone to ensure they all had a good time. He set up his podium for a Zoom briefing and within 40 minutes he had his band of expert helpers.

The young scarecrows were busy deciding what they wanted from Father Christmas – yes Santa also delivers to the scarecrows. Luckily his cousin is Fairy Scarecrow and she is in his WhatsApp group so she could easily arrange to get the letters to him.

Bud was already brewing straw beer. He said there would be enough to go round though everyone was bit worried there may not be, as he seemed to be consuming nearly as much as he was making. Apparently, G and T lady has put in her order extra early as he was making a secret supply of elderberry mulled wine.

Of course, Aunt Sally would be in charge of making the Christmas Seed cake. It was going to have to be a pretty big cake for everyone to have a slice (plus an extra one for Worzel of course) and she needed extra ingredients. As One Stop had run out of seed, Quad Biker volunteered to pop over to Elm Park Garden Centre to collect the seed and nuts. The pesky crows soon worked out what was going on and Sally had to send Worzel out to scare them away from the kitchen window.

Farmer would deliver the presents to the party on his trailer. Hetty and Harry volunteered to organise the games. Potato sack race was usually a laugh, but musical statues was a silly game for scarecrows as no one ever got knocked out. And everyone loved an Aunt Sally – part from Aunt Sally of course.

Music was going to be provided by the party animals and Grumpy teenager with all the Christmas favourites:  I wish it Could be Harvest Everyday, Seed the World, Hay Ride, Let it Crow, and Frosty the Crowman.

Isobel would decorate the village and field with the help of the WI and she had enlisted Bill’s help to find the best Christmas tree ever. Bill was very pleased to be asked. He got out his best barrow ready to carry the tree, plus the holly, ivy, berries, and mistletoe. (He was going to hold back a sprig of mistletoe). Winnie also volunteered to help decorate the high places but Isobel was a bit worried as she hadn’t got her broom stick repaired and still hadn’t mastered landing.

Fred asked Builder if he could organise the lights. He assured Fred that it would be a clear sky and stars a full moon on Christmas day but the glow worms were on standby just in case.

Freda’s job was providing the food for the special party. Unfortunately, all the Sainsbury’s delivery slots had gone, so she had to look elsewhere. That was very disappointing. The success of any party relied on the food. Maybe Deliveroo could help? As she stood by the door, trying to think of an answer, she sniffed the air. What was that she could smell? Indian?? Chinese??? Fish and Chips???? Bread and mince pies????? “I think I have the answer, “she thought, and sent quad biker a message.

But then their plans for their celebrations were thrown into doubt as Worzel started coughing and his voice was a bit scratchy. Aunt Sally, who was neurotic anyway, insisted he went to Clift Surgery to get checked out. Would Worzel be the reason the scarecrows couldn’t have their party? It was a worried group that waited to hear the diagnosis. The doctor examined all of Worzel’s heads and tested his stuffing and the results were clear! He was fine. Nothing that a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake couldn’t put right – and the even better news was that scarecrows couldn’t catch COVID. They are immune and so it was fine to go ahead with the Christmas celebrations!

The whole village had written their letters to Santa and they were all waiting in anticipation for their new carrot, scarf, hat or gloves, or even a tie, but there had been no sign of the Fairy to collect them. Sunflower Lady was a bit concerned that she hadn’t seen her so she decided she would drop into Strawberry Fields for her daily exercise and see how she was. When she tapped on the door, she heard a tiny voice calling “Who is it? Go away!”.

“Fairy, it’s me, Sunflower Lady. I have come to see how you are. Please let me in.”

She could hear a groan, some thumps and scraping and then the door slowly opened. There was pink fairy, looking more red than pink, her wings looking very droopy and to be honest her dress looked very, very tight!

“The scarecrows were concerned they haven’t seen you for ages.  They have all got their letters ready for Santa and were wondering when you were going to collect them.”

”Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,” wailed Pink Fairy and she started to weep.

“Whatever is the matter? asked Sun Flower lady kindly.

“Can’t you see?? Look at me! I haven’t been out since lock down and I have just been eating; strawberry Angel Delight, strawberries and cream, Strawberry ice cream, pink blancmange, raspberry jam and scones, sausage and ketchup sandwiches, tomato soup and Percy pigs. I have put on so much weight I can’t fly anymore and now I can’t deliver the letters to Cousin Nick!”

“Oh dear me”, replied Sunflower lady. Clearly Fairy needed help and quickly or Christmas would be cancelled but there was no way she would be able to collect the letters.

“Right, if I arrange to get the letters collected and bring them to you, can you think of how we can get the letters to Santa?

“Well I suppose I could WhatsApp him and see what he suggests.”

Fairy heard back from Nick almost instantly. He had just stopped for a cuppa. “LOL. No probs. Will send help xx”

“Thank you so much Sunflower Lady. You are going to save Christmas for the Bramley Scarecrows. But please don’t tell anyone about me. Just say I have had a positive test and have had to isolate.” Fairy clearly hadn’t heard that scarecrows were actually immune to the virus.

Sunflower Lady needed help quickly. She was only little and her legs rather short. Fortunately, on her way home she saw the Cyclist, on his way back from Silchester. She put out her hand to stop him. “Please could you help me?” she asked and explained the situation.

“No problem at all,” he replied. “I will race round Bramley and pick them all up and meet you back at Strawberry Fields.” He took the offer of a shopping bag to carry them in, while Sunflower lady returned to Fairy to assure her help was on its way.

Within an hour he was back. It was quite dark now and it was a good thing he had his front and back lights on, so he could find the garage. He rang his bell and Sunflower lady met him on the drive. The bag was bulging with letters and requests for gifts.

“Thank you so much!”

“You’re welcome. I’m always up for a bit more exercise and happy to help out. Where is Fairy?”

“Oh er, I’m afraid she has tested positive so she is self isolating”.

“Oh right… Well, bye for now. Off to do a night ride around Tadley”. He obviously didn’t believe her but no time to worry about that. They had to save Christmas. But what was Santa planning?? The two scarecrows sat in the garage, eating pink marshmallows and waited. In the distance they could hear a noise. Not sleigh bells which they might have expected but a thud, thud, thud. It got closer and closer and louder and louder. The garage shuddered and the ladies clung to each other in fear. The noise continued to hover above them so very cautiously they opened the door a crack. A bright light had a appeared in the sky above them. Not a star but the headlights from a chinook and from an open door at least a hundred of multi coloured fairies flew down.

“Hi there. We have come to collect the letter for SC,” they chorused. Sunflower lady handed over the bag and the tiny fairies each picked up a letter and flew back into the hovering machine.

“Happy Christmas,” the fairies sang.

“Happy Christmas to you too and thank you so much for saving Christmas for Bramley,” replied the scarecrows, but their voices were lost in the thud, thud, thud and the chinook rose and disappeared as quickly as it arrived.

Fairy looked relieved but then suddenly rather sad. In all the excitement she had forgotten to write a letter of her own. “Never mind. I’m sure Nick won’t forget you” Sunflower lady reassured her, but she had a plan “just in case”.

And so Christmas arrived. The trees and bushes were a picture of green, red and white (Frosty the Crowman had arrived just in time). The moon and stars lit up the field, and a vast array of delicious food was laid out. In the distant they could hear a thud, thud, thud as they waited for Santa’s sleigh and then they could hear a chug, chug, chug as the farmer made his way to the field with the delivery of presents, dropped off by the chinook and the fairies. Everyone was delighted with their presents and a great time was had by all. The only person missing was Fairy.

“I wonder what’s happened to Fairy?” asked Isobel. “She was a bit under the weather when I saw her,” replied Sunflower lady.

“I will take her a piece of cake and check on her.”

The scarecrows partied long into the night, but Sunflower lady slipped away early. She had a task to do. She tapped gently on the garage door. “Fairy, it’s only me! Let me in.”

Fairy opened the door. She looked so sad to have missed the party. She was assured that all the presents had arrived and everyone was very happy, especially when Bill got down on one knee with some mistletoe to propose to Isobel. But he couldn’t get up again and everyone had to help pick him up.

“I have something for you too.” Sunflower lady drew out a piece of cake (not too big of course) and a card. Inside the card was an invitation to the weekly walking group which hoped to start up in March, and membership of Slimming World. Fairy was delighted. She hadn’t been forgotten, everyone had had a lovely Christmas and she had something positive to look forward to.

And as for Fred, did Santa grant his wish for new legs? Wait and see ……..

And as well as the scarecrows’ presents, Santa also sent some special fairies to Bramley to bring a little happiness. If you look carefully around the village you may find one, looking for a home.

The Scarecrows send good wishes to everyone in Bramley and are already looking forward to scaring the crows again next July and August.